Six years ago, the 5'11" Hunter McGrady was a 114 lb. aspiring “straight size” model who was getting tired of casting agents telling her she was “too big.” Instead of continuing to try to whittle her hips to oblivion, McGrady took a different, healthier approach: She embraced her body in the state it’s meant to be and success followed. Now the 23-year-old is the “curviest” model to have ever graced the pages of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue, which, surprising as it may be, is history-making.

She’s also found acceptance on a personal level. “I love my body now. I love everything about it,” she says, “I’ve been an 18, I’ve been a 10/12, and I’ve been everything in between. Right now I sit at a 14/16, and I love it because this is my God-given body.”

Kevin Mazur / Getty

Kevin Mazur / Getty

Nothing like wearing a dominatrix-worthy bustier, garters included, over a sheer skirt to a red carpet event to hammer the point home. At the iHeartRadio Music Awards on Sunday, McGrady balanced the high-drama situation with a motorcycle jacket and nearly naked sandals, projected a balance of hard and soft – and more importantly, an air of unabashed confidence.

While the response to McGrady’s appearance in Sports Illustrated has been met with plenty of praise, as we know, shamers and haters love to make their opinions known. To them McGrady says, ‘I do get angry. The fact that anyone thinks that they have the right to say anything negative about my body boggles my mind. Because it’s my body, it’s my rules. I get to do what I want.“